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Oxfordshire Butcher Strikes Gold

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Top-notch Q Guild butcher from Oxfordshire strikes gold in the prestigious Smithfield Awards.

Patrick Strainge Butchers, of Bridge Street, Bampton, scooped five gold awards, for its Bampton Royals Sausage, Caramelised Onion Sausage, Scotch Egg, Unsmoked Back Bacon, and Smoked Back Bacon.

A total of 479 products from 54 Q butchers nationwide, virtually half of the national membership, were entered for the eight categories in this year’s Smithfield Awards, the annual national product evaluation competitionThey were judged by independent panels of food and meat industry experts.

Awards were announced and presented at the Butchers Hall in Smithfield, London, ancestral home of the Q Guild, by Matthew Fort, food and drink editor at the Guardian for over a decade, author of several award-winning books on food, and expert judge on the popular TV series, The Great British Menu. (Thursday, November 13)

Mr Fort said: “I’ve admired butchers all my life; there’s something about the skill, watching butchers break up a carcass with their calm assurance, it’s like watching a magician at work, it’s like the finest theatre. The knife coming down, even sharpening the knife, the noise and the crunch when the cleaver comes down with such precision. To someone like me this is absolute magic.

“I’ve spent many hours watching butchers going about their business and every time there’s something to be learnt. I’ve never had a serious conversation with a butcher where I haven’t learnt something from that conversation.

“I think the future can be extremely positive for the Q Guild butchers; the emphasis on quality, precision and wisdom – you can’t put too high a price on that.”

Q Guild national chairman, West Yorkshire butcher Brindon Addy, said: “Smithfield Awards are among the meat industry’s most esteemed and cherished accolades, recognising and rewarding both product quality and innovation, at the same time reflecting the skills continually demonstrated by our members – Great British butchers one and all.”

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